first day at the wheel

My boss took me with him today to do oil spill response training at North Star Island. I thought I was going as crew, but as we untied, he said you take her. We were practicing decanting an oil spill barge – the barge where you put oil you would be skimming. So, we had to tie alongside a barge first, then head to N. Star. N. Star does not have a dock. You have to pull up to a bulkhead, almost always with a sea swell, and pin the square front of the boat against teh bulkhead so people can load onto the boat. Difficult enough the first time you try it, but with a barge in tow – twice as nutty.

As we came in, and I was being swelled towards the bulkhead, my boss said “Put her in reverse”… then louder “Put her in reverse…”. Just as we were about to hit the bulkhead, I eased it into reverse, and we just nudged it perfectly. Like hitting your first jumper when the coach finally puts you in. My boss was clearly worried, then clearly impressed as we held against the bulkhead. I knew it might be beginners luck, but I stuck the return trip when we offloaded the crew after training.

It was a nice day to be on the Arctic Ocean. It is getting colder, though, particularly in the morning and evenings, and I can see some snow if it gets a tad colder and we get some precip. But for now, it’s dry and mild here and a great place to be.

Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
Wild Salmon and Salmon Pet Treats
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801

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